News — May 2004

Oil Prices Hit $40 - Deputy PM Confirms Peak Oil Risks

The deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport, John Anderson, acknowledged that "at some stage in the next few short years global [oil] production may very well peak" in an interview with the ABC's Barrie Cassidy from the Insiders show. The issue has also been covered in the SMH and National Geographic.

As of 20.5.04, oil prices have been above $40 for several days, despite a much stronger US dollar. Australia is sorely hit with a weaker Aussie dollar, and petrol prices above $1/litre. The issue of 'Peak Oil' is growing widely in awareness, with many 'mainstream' media outlets running articles on it. See our Peak Oil Watch page. Australian governments need to prepare us for a world with more expensive petrol - much better cycling infrastructure plays a big role in that.

There's been a new book on Peak Oil by another respected scientific authority: Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil, by David Goodstein. Goodstein is a professor of physics and vice provost of the California Institute of Technology, one of America's headiest institutions. He's been interviewed about it:
Dried Up? Are We Running Out of Oil? Scientist Warns of Looming Crisis (Special to, )
Crude Awakening (Newsweek, 17.2.04)
A prominent physicist warns in a new book that the world is running out of oil and we’re not doing anything to stave off the coming crisis.

Another book is looking at the financial/investment dimension of Peak Oil:
The Oil Factor: How Oil Controls the Economy and Your Financial Future, by Stephen Leeb, Donna Leeb: "A storm is coming - an inflationary "perfect storm" whipped up by skyrocketing oil prices that will lay waste to millions of portfolios if investors don't prepare. Renowned financial analyst Stephen Leeb asserts that in this perilous period, oil prices will drive all other economic indicators.This book will show you how to diversify yourself away from potential disaster!". Amazon Page.

Rides and Events Coming Up

Come ride with us! Our rides are easy and friendly.

Date of ride: 16/5/04

Day of week: Sunday

Grade: Easy

Name of ride: Parramatta Heritage Ride

Distance: 20km

Contact: Paul Bowyer

Phone: 0438 856 880


Starts at: Tudor Gates, George St entrance to Parramatta Park, 9am

Description of ride: A gentle ride around the historical sites of Parramatta on quiet streets with commentary.


Date of ride: 19/6/04

Day of week: Saturday

Grade: Med

Name of ride: Chipping Norton Lakes

Distance: 35km

Contact: Rob Catford

Phone H: 9633 9185  
  or W:   9635 9733


Starts at: Station St entrance to Parramatta station 9am

Description of ride: Ride the Parramatta- Liverpool rail trail then ride the paths around Chipping Norton lakes and return to Liverpool to train back.


Farewell to Bill Brewer

Bill Brewer, a long serving member of CAMWEST and many other cycling groups, passed away on 1st Feb this year. A memorial service was organised at the Hill Pavillion in Bicentennial Park by Bicycle NSW, Bike North and some other prominent cyclists. It was a stiflingly hot morning, but that didn't stop many cyclists turning up — Bill would have been proud. Danny Hannan spoke on behalf of CAMWEST, with some fond memories of some of Bill's many idiosyncracies.

It seems that Bill had been in poor health for at least a month prior to his death but hospital staff were apparently surprised by his sudden death. Bill was a very active cycling volunteer. He'll be missed by us and many other Sydney cyclists.

Greystanes Canal Reserve

The Greystanes Canal Reserve was officially opened on 15th February, 2004, with CAMWEST attending. About a dozen novice riders were given a short tour from Boothtown bridge (Gipps Rd) along the canal to the aqueduct led by CAMWEST. There a NPWS person gave a 10 minute talk on the flora and fauna in the area, followed by the Water Board's heritage advisor with a short talk on the history of the Canal scheme.

Upon returning to Boothtown Park the occassion was marked by an aboriginal smoking ceremony, with the mayor of Holroyd officially acknowledging the traditional owners of the entire area. The Canal Reserve was then officially handed over for management to Holroyd Council and a ribbon cutting ceremony held.

We then went for a short ride on the officially open cycleway.

Council had a bike mechanic from a local shop to check bikes, and the RTA had a small display with a person who seemed very pro-cycling. CAMWEST have a formal invitation to do a safety audit of the cycleway.

Holroyd Happenings — Open Days

The Holroyd Bicycle steering committee has started functioning, with a CAMWEST member involved.

1. Canal Cycleway

The cycleway has been handed over to Council, with an Open Day and BBQ held at Boothtown Reserve, Gipps Rd on Feb 15th. A highlight of the ceremony was an aboriginal smoking of the crowd and dignatories. Mayor and Deputy mayor attended. The 24 hour deviation around the Reservior through Wetherill Park is still not completed, though ridable with about 500 metres of dirt track. Canal-Prospect-Horsley Park, Bossley Park, Wetherill Park, Fairfield makes a nice loop.

2. Prospect to Fairfield cycleway

Holroyd Council hosted an Open Day on Feb 7th. Activities included jumping castle for kids, tree planting. CAMWEST had the opportunity to call for cycleway centerlines, signage on keeping left, etc, and a north-south route through Fairfield LGA linking with this cycleway. The loop back from under the Cumberland Highway Bridge is still not complete and we are working with Council to move this forward. Fairfield St now has an underpass and work should progress on the link to the Rail Trail. Fairfield Council have been asked by Mr. Scully to design; we will ask if design is available for us to see shortly. An alternate safe footpath route exists and will be used in our September ride.

3. CSIRO site/Inter Transitway link

Bicycle NSW have been informed of the concept. BORAL site is open for house construction but no cycleways completed yet.

4. Merrylands to Fox St

New residential development called Holroyd Gardens in Walpole St contains a cycleway link from Walpole St Park through Holroyd Sports Centre to the M4 cycleway near Fox St. The March ride followed the completed part of this new development. CAMWEST will be asking Holroyd Council how they intend joining this to their cycleway network.

5. Roadside cycleway on Horsely Drive, Wetherill Park

It is now completed, Victoria St is well under way but roadworks here are a cycling nightmare.

7. Holroyd Steering Committee has not yet had first meeting.

Hawkesbury Happenings - Windsor Road Upgrade

The Mayor asked me to arrange for a ride by our group to ride to the Battle of Vinegar Hill Memorial at Rouse Hill on 7 March and then to Rouse Hill Regional Park for the re-enactment of the battle.

The Steering Committee chair has left as she did not stand for the March Council elections.

The Windsor Road upgrade is behind schedule especially the offroad cycleway. CAMWEST had on onsite inspection of the two sections with an RTA engineer and the two engineers from the contractors.

We have been campaigning for three years for the RTA to provide a safe pedestrian and cyclist path across Buttsworth Creek Bridge on Singleton Road at Wilberforce. After more lobbying this week the RTA have announced that they will fund half of the total cost ($300k) of adding a hang on section on each side.What we are not sure of, is if Council refuse to pay their half is the deal off or do we only get one side done.

News in Brief

The Central Sydney Area Health Service's Health Promotion Unit is running a number of cycling skills courses, for beginners and intermediate. More Info

Postcard from the Future - Cycle Tourism

Here is a wonderful example of a shared path beside a road. Instead of having the path right up against the fences, there's a gap so that any cars reversing out of driveways have the opportunity to see cyclists, and the cyclists can see the cars.

Because cycle touring is an immediate mode of transport, people come to know the little towns which would be ignored by people speeding by on the highway. It is slow, and it encourages more stops at country towns to either have a meal and a rest, enjoy the locals, or stay the night. Tours are combined with trains to cover vast areas.

As a result, many understand better regional and rural Australia, and regional towns are thriving again with a welcome economic boost through tourism.

In the Media Lately

New blueprint to turn city green (SMH, 23.4.04)

The new Los Angeles? (SMH, 27.4.04)
Sydney has been warned that it could become another Los Angeles, driving people away, if transport links and environmental protection are not improved.

Why we're reaching our limits as a one-hour city (Peter Newman- SMH Opinion, 26.4.04)

Road traffic deaths (The Economist, 15.4.04)
Every year over a million people die in road accidents and as many as 50m are injured. Over four-fifths of the deaths are in developing countries. This dismal toll is likely to get much worse as road traffic increases in the developing world. As third world countries move from bicycles to cars, people die. Add the risks of Peak Oil to this, and it makes the shift to car transport in places like China and India really dumb.

A Fresh Wind From the South: Cuban Bike Revolution (Culture Change, )
At a time where most third world countries are trying to hit the eight- lane highway of automobilisation," Cuba is presently undergoing a real revolution in the field of sustainable and efficient transport. For an island which had virtually no cyclist culture until 1990, bicycling is rapidly becoming a central tool of transport".

Carr rallies states to save the climate (SMH, 30.3.04)

Last chance to give our city a future (SMH, 30.3.04)
Some promising signs from the new Sydney Mayor: "The city's future, given State Government paralysis, urgently needs planning. An integrated transport and traffic plan will be developed to drive government/private sector action, and will include light rail extensions, and better cycling and pedestrian access".

Fear less what shadows hide: our roads are killing fields (SMH-Paul Sheehan Opinion Piece, 21.3.04)

Carr joins taskforce to give Kyoto alternative the green light (SMH, 15.3.04)

Look to the future so we will have one (SMH Opinion by Caroline Pidcock, president of the NSW chapter of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, 10.3.04)

Off your bike: the rider who did 212kmh in tunnel (SMH, 10.3.04)

Traffic Tax (ABC's Earthbeat, 6.3.04)
A look at the implications for traffic management in Australia one year on from the introduction of the traffic tax in London.

Air pollution 'bigger killer than road accidents' (SMH, 2.3.04)

Congestion Charging: What Sydney can learn from London (David Hensher, Online Opinion, )

Warning of global anarchy (SMH, 23.2.04)
A secret report prepared by the Pentagon warns that climate change may lead to global catastrophe costing millions of lives and is a far greater risk than terrorism, a British weekly has said.

Our fat future (SMH, 12.2.04)
Almost one million older Australians are obese, with signs that the middle-age spread now extends into the autumnal years, a new report suggests.

West sitting on obesity time bomb, warns UN (SMH, 12.2.04)


We need more members to achieve better bike facilities in Western Sydney. There's a number of projects we'd like to get involved in. Join us and make a difference.

More Info

Action Corner!

Why not write a letter to your State or Federal MP and ask for better funding of cycling? See our letter writing page.

CAMWEST's Action Corner is where we include one or two suggestions of something simple and concrete that you can do: write an email, letter, representation, turn up for a ride, etc. Join us in making a difference! More advocacy info

Get in touch

Would you like to get these news via email every two months? Join our mailing list.

For information on who we are and contact details, click About Us. For feedback on this site or telling us news you want mentioned here, please email contact (AT)